Senate Committee Hears Natural Gas Bullet Line Bill Thursday
SB 287Shifts Responsibility for the Project to the Alaska Railroad
JUNEAU – Today, the Senate Resources Committee heard Senator Lesil McGuire’s SB 287, which is expected to move out of committee on Monday. The bill shifts responsibility for the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline Project (ASAP), also known as the Bullet line, to the Alaska Railroad. The Alaska Railroad is a business oriented, public corporation that is owned by the state but operates independently under its board of directors.
“After speaking to Alaskans across the state this summer during our Energy Committee field hearings, I heard clearly that Alaskans need a secure source of natural gas for both their residential and commercial needs. As the amount of oil in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline declines, the growth of our economy will depend on the use of gas in-State for economic development, value-added industries and new job creation,” said Senator Lesil McGuire. The hearing also garnered the opinions of Former Senator Ted Stevens, Former Governors Bill Sheffield and Frank Murkowski, all voicing the need and their support for a pipeline project to get underway as soon as possible.
SB 287 expands on the Railroad’s existing authority to engage in a North Slope natural gas pipeline project and directs the Railroad to aggressively pursue the permitting, design and financing of a bullet line.
“The railroad is uniquely situated as a public corporation to pursue this project,” said Senator McGuire. “With their existing authorization to issue up to $17 billion in bonds for a gas pipeline and extensive project development expertise, the Railroad is well equipped to move this project forward.”
SB 287 also grants a conditional right-of-way to the railroad and waives the best-interest finding for the project. In addition to transferring responsibility for the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline to the Railroad, the bill points to the looming gas shortages in Cook Inlet and states that the in-state use of natural gas for economic development and the needs of Alaskans should be the State’s priority.
“Senate Bill 287 continues the Governor’s good work on the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP) and insulates the project from politics by putting it in the hands of a corporate, rather than bureaucratic culture.”
(For more information, please contact Mike Pawlowski in Senator McGuire’s office at 465-2295)# # #
Posted: March 19, 2010